What we have in mind when we started our own regular community event was regeneration. We think the regeneration of jazz musicians is crucial in order to keep jazz alive, especially in a city like Bandung which has contributed big deal to the Indonesian music scene from many decades ago. Without regeneration, one day Bandung could have no players left, and none of us would want to see that happen. We want to see more musicians from Bandung go national and even international. Many of those musicians started from the community events and found their way to become the top artists. Some has gone futher to blaze the globe.
The problem is, without community events, it’s difficult for the young players to have a playground. They need the chance to establish themselves, trying out their concept, practicing what they have learnt, gaining experience of playing in front of real audiences and of course, making their own name. That’s what we intend to provide from the beginning. A chance for them to play live. A familiar and friendly playground where they can learn without being intimidated. An opportunity to be promoted and start filling up their portfolio.
It’s no secret that those who have started are usually difficult to find an event to perform. We want them to know that they are always welcome in our community event. Not only pure jazz, we also welcome any bands as long as they are still relevant to our jazz theme, even just by spirit. We are more than happy to help them grow. In other words, if a jazz-related band from any place feels that they got no place to perform, they can always come to us if they think Bandung is reachable. While we are presenting seniors, legens and successful musicians, we always make sure that the youngsters will always have their spot in any edition.
The Braga Jazz Night (formerly known as Braga Jazz Walk) has been the source since 3 years ago. We are happy that this event has borne so many great fruits. Many of them started from this event and now successfully stand in the upper league. It’s a blessing for us, and we will continue to give our best to grow more fruits.
In the last edition we celebrated the holy month of Ramadhan (http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/braga-jazz-walk-24-special-ramadhan-edition-2-the-report/). Now as the third Thursday of this month is right on the corner, the Braga Jazz Night #37 is ready to roll. For this edition we are back focusing on our main mission, supporting the young musicians. Therefore in this edition we give a tagline, “Young Guns”. As the theme says, this time it will be all young musicians, ranging from teens to young adult. Not only the players but the band leaders as well. What’s also unique is that all featured bands/projects have a person’s name attached. It clearly shows that some of them are capable to take the lead.
Now let’s get down to business. First, allow us to introduce a cool band we first found performing at the lounge stage of The 9th International Kampoeng Jazz 2017 last April: The Albert Dragtan Quintet. This quintet is led by our friend, drummer Albert Shadrach Dragtan. If you see him, you would probably think that he is a rocker with the tatoos and all. And that’s not wrong since he actually began with a Hardcore Punk band named Komplete Kontrol. Later on, for whatever reason he becomes a dedicated jazz drummer the way we first met him more than 7 years ago.
He is considerably still young, but so far he has jammed with big cats including Maurice Brown, Tony Monaco, Joe Rosenberg, Indra Lesmana, the late Riza Arshad, Aksan Sjuman, Professor Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsyah, Indro Hardjodikoro among others. That’s surely an amazing list. We have seen his artistry in painting jazz over many jazz clubs and community events which is still going on until now.
At the Kampoeng Jazz he told us that this quintet is his new step to represent his true-self. We have found him in variety of projects before either as a band leader or sideman, this quintet probably is where we can see the strongest picture of him, musically speaking. In this Albert Dragtan Quintet he has strong team mates including Vica Fithri Noer Azizah (vocal), Christian Jati (guitar), Gafie Garcia (saxophone) and arguably the most wanted bassist in Bandung, Ilham Septia Inda Nugraha (contrabass).
Albert and Ilham have been friends since 2005. They have even played in a trio with Christ Stanley for quite some times. He met Christian Jati in Ray Martosono’s Ray-Mate Community and with Gafie at the Atmosphere.
What’s interesting is the vocalist, Vica. “I have her in because we actually share a lot of things in common. We both were born from the same music scene, Hardcore Punk. But Vica is willing to sing jazz standards, especially the repertoires not often picked by jazz singers.” said Albert to us.
About the band, he further said: “One of my reasons of why I create these combo, because I had a dream to combine my musical ideas with my musical knowledge. Lately I’m into Hard Bop and other Jazz styles so much, and I’d like to rejuvenate my memory of my Komplete Kontrol era as well, but cooked with a Jazz taste.”
What we saw in that international-scaled jazz festival was a quintet playing cheerfully, sending all the fun they had to the audience with a unique sound of jazz. They played the combination of well known jazz standards, bossa tunes and Albert’s original song in a way that’s different than what we normally hear. We love what we see from them, and now we are glad to be able to present this quintet to you all in this this edition.
Speaking of new band, the next in line is Joe Bass Project. This project is made by a young bassist who can also play guitar just as good, Joe Bastian. We first knew him a few years ago as a part of Fine Taste. Then later, he surprised us by being able to embrace bossa with guitar serving his buddy, Billy Likumahuwa.
But as he is originally a bassist, he has to dig it further in order to establish himself. He has to show what he got to prove that he is indeed a good player who has the chance to be on the top of the game. “I have to prove I’m able to do this. This is me, this is my yard.” he says to us. Based on that thought, a self project like this is necessary.
If you remember, earlier this year we invited Lala and The Mates where he stood as the bassist. Now some of them are back supporting him such as the X Factor and The Voice alumni Fadhilla ‘Lala’ K Pramastij (vocal) and Dony Manurung (keyboard). Also joining him for this gig are Haider Castiela (drum), M Rizqi Pratama (guitar) and Swain Samuel (guitar).
Joe Bastian is now mentored by the senior bassist Rudy Zulkarnaen, which for us guarantees his skill. According to him, he is inspired by Snarky Puppy which is also led by a bassist, Michael League. Probably he is going towards that direction, or expands his exploration into the other sides of fusion. But whatever he is digging, we are happy to support him and his move. We know he is a good player, we know he is passionate and serious, so we happily give him a push. Hopefully this can give him benefit while at the same time we can let our audience enjoy their taste of jazz fusion.
There are limitless possibilities in the world of music. That’s how fascinating this world is. There’s a girl – who decided to be a jazz musician just two years ago and have been working hard ever since – seems to realize it and happily steps in exploring this world. Her name is Nayra Dharma, the daughter of maestro with many inventions that bridge jazz and ethnic music, Pra Budi Dharma. We have seen and featured her since the beginning of her career when she was still playing solo. From there, she never stops evolving.
She sings and plays guitar, sometimes she just takes one at a time. She has no problem standing alone on stage, she happily shares the stage with more mates. She has performed with the big cats and she has her own band which has been showing interesting signs of life. From Dharma Trio with bass and drum, she changed the course by having a keyboard without drum. Currently she is thinking of expanding her musical canvas with a kendang player, but it’s still in the making. Speaking of genre, she swings, bops and embraces Brazilian like bossanova. Now she walks further into the ethnic world. Bear in mind that all of these things happen only in two years. Quite a journey she’s been taking, that’s why we love to call her move as Nayravolution.
She must have inherited the DNA of her father who co-founder the supergroup Krakatau. But that’s not the only reason for her to be able to fly high just in a very short amount of time. You should know that this girl is willing to go extra mile to make her dream comes true. She practices around 6 hours every day, she’s injured her fingers a couple of times for playing too much. Like we said, she often sings while playing guitar, yet she doesn’t choose the easy way by playing simple arrangement. Instead, she takes difficult arrangements like Joe Pass’. That, plus sings. Definitely, it’s not easy, but that’s how she likes it to be.
The last time we invited her wasn’t that long ago actually, it was on February edition made to honour the late Riza Arshad (http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/braga-jazz-night-32-for-riza-arshad-the-report/). There are a lot changes have happened in just 5 months. First of all, the name of her band has changed from The Nayra Dharma Trio to NAYRA DHARMA GROUP. Using ‘Group’ instead of ‘Trio’ is an essential so she can be more flexible in cooking up her concept. “This way, we can bring more players in.” she says. Her band members also changed a bit. Pianist Jason Limanjaya is still in, but the bassist now is Roy Bimantoro, replacing Nicholas Dheo. Roy Bimantoro is no stranger to us. He has been serving as the bassist of Salamander Big Band for more than a decade. While Jason has the expressive and explosive character on stage, Roy tends to be more calm.
According to Nayra, her decision in extending her musical canvas is to try making up something new. “I just think we want to make something tasteful, ethnically.” she says along with stating that the ethnic-coated jazz is actually within their style.
As she is trying to find the best concept to suit the quartet with kendang player, the ethnic music elements can already be found within her music. One thing for sure, the (r)evolution is still going on. For now, let’s check out this current phase of her journey. Since ethnic jazz pulses strong inside her family, we are curious to know how it would appear from her. It’s time for us to enjoy this chapter of Nayravolution.
Then there will be a duo consisting of a young student and his teacher: Luqmanul Hakim & Sang Guru. The student’s name is Luqmanul Hakim, a boy in his mid-teen who is certainly not a stranger to us. He actually helped us a lot in providing the photos of our coverage before he even reached the age of 10. It’s no wonder, since he is the son of Mia Damayanti Sjahir, a pro, licensed photographer who also works as an event organizer.
This boy is hungry to learn anything. Other than showing passion in photography, he is also into martial arts and active in organizations. About a year ago he suddenly showed passion in playing music. Realizing that, her mother place him in the hand of Hardi ‘Qomank’ Suryana, a fine jazz guitarist. Jazz is not new to this boy since he was kind of living in jazz events following her mom. But rather than taking more picture, he is now becoming a player, using guitar as his gear.
According to his teacher/mentor Hardi, Luqman learns quite fast. He has been feeding him with the swing basics, bebop all the way to bossa. We have seen him performing for KlabJazz at Jazz et Alia on October 2016. We have wished to bring him into this event, but it’s not that easy since he also has to focus on his formal study. Since he is about entering the high school, we quickly catch him before he’s getting busy again with his study.
If before he helped us with photography, now it’s time to return the favor by taking his picture while performing on stage. Having an assist by his own teacher will give him the best chance to show what he got so far.
The Braga Jazz Walk #37 : Young Guns is coming soon on Thursday, 20 July 2017 starting from 7:00 pm onwards. As usual, this event is totally FREE of any charge. While you can enjoy variety of jazz from four bands/groups, you can show your support to the musicians by watching them. Hope to see you then.
BRAGA JAZZ NIGHT #37 : YOUNG GUNS
Date: Thursday, 20 July 2017
Time: 07:00 pm – onwards
Location: Braga CityWalk
Jl. Braga 99 – 101, Bandung
:: ALBERT DRAGTAN QUINTET ::
Albert Shadrach Dragtan – drum
Vica – vocal
Ilham Septia Inda Nugraha – contrabass
Chris – guitar
Gafie – saxophone
:: NAYRA DHARMA GROuP ::
Nayra Dharma – guitar/vocal
Jason Limanjaya – keyboard
Roy Bimantoro – bass
:: JOE BASS PROJECT ::
Joe Bastian – bass
Fadhilla ‘Lala’ K Pramastij – vocal
Dony Manurung – keyboard
Haider Castiela – drum
M Rizqi Pratama – guitar
Swain Samuel – guitar
:: LUQMANUL HAKIM & SANG GURU ::
Luqmanul Hakim – guitar
Hardi ‘Qmank’ Suryana – guitar